Over the last six months, the Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) programme has been working on a long term project to create an accessible raised bed that can be used by clients with physical challenges. We were awarded a generous donation from The Finnis Scott Foundation and purchased the specially designed raised bed from Woodblocx Landscaping. The purpose of the raised bed is to provide inclusive access for all of our STH clients to be able to plant and tend vegetables and flowers. Several STH clients have some physical and movement limitations and the bed will provide the opportunity for them to complete gardening tasks that would otherwise be too physically difficult for them.
Both our morning and afternoon STH groups have been involved in building and filling the raised bed over time. The wooden bed was delivered in kit form and we spent an afternoon sorting and stacking the various pieces. Over the course of several weeks, the STH groups worked as a team to build the bed using the plans provided by the design company.
Due to the way it is constructed, the raised bed went together fairly quickly and we then started the mammoth task of filling it with compost and getting it ready for planting.
One of our clients has spent the most time filling the bed, with other members of the group helping when they could. They were given the task of planting the first courgette plant in the raised bed and were also given the privilege of taking home the first courgette. The following week, they kindly brought us a courgette cake made from the produce of the raised bed, which we all enjoyed at tea time!
It was particularly rewarding to see a couple of our clients who would otherwise find it difficult to bend down to plant at ground level, who were able to plant and weed using our new raised bed. We are looking forward to many more productive years spent tending our special raised bed and we feel it will make a huge difference to many of our clients.